US RESEARCHER SAYS KARABAKH STATUS 'TO BE PUT OFF'

Today, Azerbaijan
May 10 2006

The status of Nagorno Karabakh will not be determined at this
stage in the Armenia-Azerbaijan peace talks, a researcher of the
Washington-based influential John Hopkins University has said.

"The issue will be solved only after a lion's share of the
occupied Azeri territories is returned," said Svante Cornell with
the University's Central Asia and Caucasus Research Institute,
AssA-Irada informs.

"No final decision will be made on the Garabagh status at this point.

We are talking about putting off the issue until later. First, most
of the Azerbaijani land will be returned, refugees returned home and
economic ties [between the two countries] established," Cornell told
Radio Liberty.

The researcher said that unlike in previous years, Armenia is not
supported by France and the United States any longer. "Azerbaijan is
currently the most important country for the U.S. considering future
prospects, while France has taken a neutral stance on the Garabagh
problem. Armenia is currently left aside from the developments ongoing
in the region, while Azerbaijan is in their spotlight. This means the
former is lagging behind, while the latter is asserting its positions
both in terms of development and the NK conflict."

The analyst said that during President Ilham Aliyev's recent talks
with US counterpart George Bush in Washington, he called on the United
States to play a greater role in the Karabakh settlement.

America could therefore heed attention to the problem, said Cornell.

Azeri Deputy Foreign Minister Araz Azimov said the recent visits by
the co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group mediating the conflict resolution
to the region "is not just for the sake of traveling".

"The visit by the French mediator Bernard Fassier to Yerevan and
further to Baku and his meeting with the Azeri president show their
willingness to hold discussions."

Azimov added that the Azeri and Armenian foreign ministers are expected
to meet soon.

URL: http://www.today.az/news/politics/25944.html